Kyiv, 18 February 2023 (TDI): Pascale Moreau, Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Ukraine Situation stated that it is difficult to analyze and convey the enormity of the destruction and human suffering in Ukraine.

The impact of war is spread throughout the neighboring countries and beyond, especially in the Eastern European region. These countries welcomed millions of refugees that flee due to violence.

Support of European Union (EU) Countries

The support offered to the Ukrainian countries is extraordinary, from the government, civil society, individuals and volunteers, NGOs, and local organizations, as well as the actors of the private sector.

Refugees from Ukraine wait to be registered at UNHCR’s cash assistance enrolment center in Warsaw, Poland.

The swift activation of the Temporary Protection Directive in March 2022 by the European Union was historic and proved the EU can effectively provide an inclusive platform for refugees.

Support of Non-EU Countries

The Non-EU countries also need to be commended for their support especially the Republic of Moldova. Moldova showed exemplary leadership in extending protection to the refugees on its territory, modeled largely on that provided in EU Member States, despite significant challenges.

Moldovan president Maia Sandu (R) hugs an Ukranian refugee woman on February 27, 2022, in Otaci at the northern border with Ukraine.

What Next?

UN, along with the EU and several countries achieved much in 2022, in hosting communities that are counting on our continued solidarity in the years to come.

In Ukraine, the immediate focus of the refugee-hosting countries must be on supporting national efforts to ensure that refugees in Europe have adequate and safe shelter during the difficult winter months ahead.

Similarly, knowing that the conflict dynamics inside Ukraine might lead to further outflows, the UN continues to work with governments to develop contingency plans that would allow us to quickly respond to the urgent needs of new arrivals.

This includes the provision of targeted cash assistance while supporting national, and municipal efforts to ensure access to secure, dignified shelter through renovations and winterization of identified facilities.

Prolonged stay in collective centers or group housing inevitably creates protection risks, for the most vulnerable. The UN urged everyone to redouble efforts to ensure they are safe through prompt identification and referral to appropriate services.

In the medium and long term, the best way to protect refugees and harness their potential to make contributions is through their inclusion in national systems.

The implementation of the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive ensures that refugees could find safety in EU countries in the region.


Alina Kovalenko Kateryna, a 31-year-old social worker at UNHCR’s partner NGO Rokada, coordinates the gender-based violence (GBV) programmes in ten oblasts of Ukraine and oversees the work of 20 specialist staff.It also provides a legal basis for refugees to access rights and services. This includes rights that allow refugees to access the labor market and secure decent work.

Furthermore, going forward, addressing the practical, administrative, and legal barriers to the enjoyment of rights would be a vital part of supporting their sustainable stay in host countries. It is important to support their swift and effective.

Especially, inclusion into national systems to promote self-sufficiency and mitigate protection risks that could result if refugees are unable to meet their basic needs.


The UN, EU, allied agencies, and hosting countries are aware of the challenges ahead. The ripple effects of the war are widening, causing economic impacts in refugee-hosting countries and beyond.

Fuel shortages and inflation loom large in the coming months, and reception and accommodation capacities are stretched, as are social welfare systems.

Role of National and Local Non-governmental Organizations

There is a need to highlight the critical role of national and local non-governmental organizations, including refugee-led organizations, as first responders to urgent humanitarian needs since the start of the war.

They would remain the bedrock of collective preparations and response, and they need our support to further strengthen their capacities.

The situation remains unpredictable and response to the needs of the most vulnerable refugees must continue, particularly older persons, people with disabilities, and unaccompanied children and adolescents.